Agriculture is a vital part of our state’s economy. The industry impacts every citizen, and the South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) is always working to help more people connect with agriculture. Many farmers have joined the effort by diversifying their operations through agritourism.
Agritourism is agriculture based activities that bring people to farms, ranches or other agricultural settings. Some examples include u-pick operations, corn mazes, farm to table dinners, and on-the-farm restaurants with markets that sell locally made foods. SCDA recognizes the great value of agritourism and its potential to benefit farms of all sizes. SCDA now has a Director of Agritourism, Jackie Moore. For the next several months she will be working to identify agritourism operations and the activities they offer. If you have an agritourism component and would like help with marketing, please print our 2014 Agritourism Farm Registration and return to address listed on the form. The survey will allow SCDA to establish a list of agritourism operations for statewide promotion and marketing.
Agritourism farms in South Carolina face many challenges. To help, we are forming a South Carolina Agritourism Networking Association. This group will enable Agritourism farmers to network with their peers, find answers to challenges, and share best practices. We will work together to find solutions to such issues as Admission Tax (click here to see article from South Carolina Farmer magazine) and Liability insurance. More information will be available soon.
The South Carolina General Assembly has approved legislation creating the Agritourism and Tourist Oriented Directional Signage Program, commonly referred to as the TODS program.
TODS is a program that allows tourism and agritourism-oriented facilities to have directional signing placed in the highway right-of-way. The program is a cooperative effort between the SC Department of Transportation (SCDOT), the SC Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT) and the SC Department of Agriculture (SCDA). Designed to promote agritourism and tourist-oriented facilities in rural areas, the program provides directional signing from the closest primary route, a designated SC or US route.
The SCDA and the SCPRT are responsible for promoting the program and screening businesses to ensure that they qualify to participate in the program. The screening process is referred to as “pre-approval.” Deadline for the Pre-approval Application submission is October 31, 2014.
Because the backbone of the program revolves around highway signing, the SCDOT is tasked with overseeing the program and maintaining program regulations. The regulations were developed cooperatively by the three agencies and are in compliance with the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Program regulations are available at http://www.scdot.org/doing/agritourism.aspx.
SCDOT’s authorized agent, South Carolina Logos, Inc., is responsible for administering the program and fabricating and installing all program signs. South Carolina Logos, Inc. is the company that currently administers the logo signing program on Interstate routes. Businesses must submit final applications to SCDOT after receiving pre-approval to participate in the program from the Department of Agriculture or Parks, Recreation and Tourism. The final application is to be reviewed and approved or rejected by the TODS program oversight committee as required by section 57-25-8 of the South Carolina Code of laws. SCDOT serves as chair of the oversight committee and forwards all approved applications to South Carolina Logos, Inc. to initiate the program participation process. The application process, as well as program participation fees, is described in more detail in the Frequently Asked Questions.
Pre-approval Application Submission Deadline
October 31, 2014
SC Code of Laws
SC Department of Agriculture
SC Parks, Recreation, & Tourism
SC Department of Transportation
Director of Traffic Engineering
955 Park Street, Room 501
Columbia, SC 29201